Turnout (R15)

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Review byMatthew Turner17/09/2011

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Turnout is well acted and nicely paced, but it struggles to find the right tone and it's ultimately let down by an unlikeable lead character, the occasional snatch of dodgy dialogue and some irritating script problems.

What's it all about?
Directed by Lee Sales, Turnout stars George Russo as George, an East London slacker who divides his time between hanging out with his laddish mates (including Ben Drew and Kill List's Neil Maskell) and seeing his perfect girlfriend Sophie (Ophelia Lovibond), who's landed herself a decent job and seems to be moving up in the world. When Sophie foolishly entrusts George with a shoebox full of money intended for their dream holiday, George decides to make a quick profit and invests the cash in a low-level drug deal.

When the deal goes wrong, George gets involved in a shadier deal involving cocaine, which brings him into contact with local gangster type Pottsy (Peter Ferdinando). However, George's so-called friends quickly take advantage of the fact that he suddenly has loads of cocaine, hoovering up “free samples” like there's no tomorrow and leaving him with a serious cash problem.

The Good
The performances are good, though top-billed Lovibond isn't really given enough to do. Russo is fine, but he's saddled with a largely unlikeable character and he lacks the charisma to turn that around. That said, there are eye-catching supporting turns from both Maskell and Ferdinando and the banter and interaction between Russo and his friends feels suitably convincing.

On top of that, Sales keeps things moving at a decent pace and the film makes strong use of its authentic East London locations. It also rallies for a decent ending that doesn't feel like a cop-out.

The Bad
The main problem is that it's impossible to care about whether or not George goes on holiday with Sophie and the more he whines about it, the more laughable it becomes. They also have very little chemistry together and it's difficult to see what she actually sees in him in the first place – when Sophie's best friend (Mieke Dockley) repeatedly tells her that she could do better, it's hard not to agree with her, so you never really root for their relationship to work out.

In addition, the film struggles to find the right tone, which is occasionally uncomfortable – for example, there's a scene where one of George's mates bullies a black friend of George's and all the main characters laugh about it, including George.

Worth seeing?
Turnout is well acted and never less than watchable, but it's ultimately scuppered by an unlikeable lead character that makes it difficult to engage with the film on an emotional level.

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Content updated: 24/04/2019 22:03

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